Yes I went and joined the illustrious ranks of Phi Beta Kappa in a ceremony today. It's one of the reasons my last entry, about gays destroying America, was sort of aborted and lame. It was intended to be a lengthy sculpted horror story with more social satire and imagery but I just didn't have time to do it and it had an expiration date on it. It wouldn't be worth posting in a week. So it sucks. Oh well.
The ceremony itself was reasonably small. There were about 80 names on the list and a short program. The PBK dignitaries were there along with the presidents of the college and University and Eric Foner, my professor and eminent historian. I found it kind of amusing that in a school that talks non-stop about diversity out of the 5 people on stage there were 4 white men and 1 white woman. The student body being inducted was much more diverse, and most of the white people were Jewish.
The room was nice. The Loew Library Rotunda, a small classical style auditorium with two levels, one of which is occupied by faux greek statuary and filing cabinets. There is some excellent stonework.
I was seated at the front right in front of the podium, my least favorite spot but where my name tag was. The speeches were...okay. Dean Austin Quigly always makes me laugh because his name is Austin Quigly and that's hilarious. He's British and not a wonderful speaker. But you can call him Dean Quigly.
Foner was the main speaker and he talked about American freedom. It was semi-historical and semi-political, decrying Bush for turning American Freedom into a lie and being regressive on civil liberties. It was okay but I heard so many speeches over the weekend that I zoned out. I just can't listen to MORE speeches right now. My chair felt creaky and like it might break because I'm fat. I worry about these things. That would have been very humiliating. Of course I was dressed shabbily compared to everyone else because I couldn't find any decent shoes and was wearing beaten up sneakers, so the humiliation ship had already sailed. My tie had threads sticking out of it too.
We all got to go up on stage and get our certificates and keys if we ordered them. I didn't order a key because it was like $60 and frankly I don't care enough. When I was shaking hands professor Eric Foner turned to President Lee Bollinger and said "In my lecture class I always ask these obscure questions and this guy knew the answers to most of them. I don't know how he did that." I looked at the two men, both prestigious and powerful. I stood there at what is probably going to be the crowning achievement of my pathetic little worthless life and said "Cheating." with a smile. They didn't find it amusing and I walked off the stage.
That sums me up pretty well. I have no sense of decorum and I speak without worrying about consequences. Of course it's utterly impossible to cheat on a question in class because there are no restrictions on HOW you answer it. If you have it in a book right in front of you then that's fine, it isn't a rule. It was an ironic statement, especially since I didn't know the answer to some of the most obscure questions (Rhode Island was the only state that added black voting between the revolution and the civil war) but that's not important.
Of course I did manage to remind the president of the university of the vast cheating problem that goes on in it and the fact that many of my fellow nominees probably bought papers from other students or cheated on tests. That's probably good.
After the ceremony we went to a reception. I didn't know anyone there except my mom and a family friend who came. Someone came up to us and said that we had a famous name from her hometown. Turns out that her synagogue is named after my great grandfather, who was a Rabbi in Baltimore. I come from prestigious stock. Too bad I'm such a miserable failure as a person.
Someone else knew me from before I was born. I had no idea who she was. More people notice me than I notice them. I think it's partially because I stand out by being fat and partially because I find most other people boring. A combination thing.
After the reception I came home, worked out, and had a massive knock down drag out fight with my mother where she tried to make me feel awful by crying. I don't care anymore, she makes such a deal about how this is my special deal yet she wants it her way or the highway and I don't get a say. I have to go to this MORONIC dinner now with family and family friends and I don't goddamned want to but if I say no she'll just be crazy for weeks. I need to get the fuck out of here.